Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. employers added 144,000 workers to payrolls in August, the most since May and the first acceleration in five months, suggesting the economy is emerging from a midyear lull. The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent.
The increase follows a revised gain of 73,000 in July that was more than twice the number estimated last month. Manufacturing employment rose 22,000 and the jobless rate declined from 5.5 percent in July.
Economists expected payrolls would rise by 150,000 last month following a previously reported increase of 32,000 in July, according to the median of 79 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. They expected the jobless rate to hold at 5.5 percent.
Economists such as Ethan Harris at Lehman Brothers Inc. in New York, say the economy needs to create about 150,000 jobs a month to absorb a growing workforce and hold the unemployment rate steady. An average 201,000 jobs a month were added during the record expansion from 1991 to 2001.
Friday, September 03, 2004